Petani at The Alaya is different to most hotel restaurants. As normal it does cater for all day dining and many different tastes but this one has been designed as a stand alone restaurant. It is a long tunnel like space with the street front at one end for those who like to watch the world go by. I prefer to sit at the other end overlooking garden and rice paddies perfect for those who just want to relax and feel as if they are in Ubud.
Design wise it is referred to as French Moroccan from that period in their history, but to Ubud diners the marks of Made Wijaya are all far too obvious!
Being a hotel the day begins with breakfast, and many options are here for guests as well for the passing local [or even tourists from other hotels who want something different].
Ricotta Hotcakes sit on a medley of fruit drizzled with vanilla butter. Eggs Benedict are done a little different with spinach [Florentine?] and are on a soft bun rather than the usual English muffin. Plus there are all the usual breakfast sets, both locals and International with eggs any which way.
The lunch menu abounds with salads, snacks and light meals again of both local and international origin. A Duck Salad, smoked magret duck on a cauliflower puree with basil and tomato tossed in an orange dressing, crisp prawns on a pineapple carpaccio [pictured], or a very local of shredded fish tossed with all the ingredients of Bali?s favourite, sambal matah. Then for me a lunch with taste, Ayam Pelalah, shredded chicken combined with long bean, kaffir lime leaf and chilli tomato. That really gets the taste buds working!
Soup can be a Bali Bakso with chicken or a Singaporean Laksa, also with chicken. Mains are worldly, Bali style Bebek Guling, Vietnamese rice paper rolls [sashimi of tuna wrapped with crudities in a rice paper roll but served with sweet chilli sauce, giving it a Thai touch], or a Babi Trio, pork done three different ways, croquette, sausage and curried fillet.
Dinner time continues the blend of local and international, but with the accent on Balinese cuisine, either traditional or modern. Begin with a very special Tum Bebek, minced duck meat and Balinese spices wrapped in a banana leaf. An Asian Chicken Salad [sliced grilled chicken, shallots, chilli, coriander and mint, tossed in chilli lime vinaigrette] or a delicate Sapi Mangga, thinly sliced rare pepper tenderloin beef tossed with strips of young mango and a lime mayonnaise. They are all perfect starters that set the tone for a relaxed evening, discovering the tastes of Bali.
After sampling these well balanced starters you begin to wonder just who the chef is? No it is not another import but a very talented local product, Made Sihata, who has that magic touch.
If you are in any doubt then try the soups, some of the best I have ever had, the flavours so well matched. Udang Kelapa is a soup of coconut and lemongrass topped with a row of juicy prawns. Betutu Wonton has a wonderful base broth, filled with soft wontons stuffed with duck meat that has had the betutu treatment, quite sensational.
Obviously there are a few standard International mains [although even the pork ribs have an Asian spice infusion] but I came for the Balinese specials and was wowed by them. Simple Ayam Bakar Mekalas is a grilled spring chicken marinated in spices, the flesh so tender that you would think it had been steamed. It comes with croquettes of corn rice and a BBQ dipping sauce that is both a little sweet yet tangy as well. You will not want to share this dish!
Udang Bakar is grilled tiger prawns that have been marinated in a chilli paste first then served skewered, perfect! Nasi Raja is Petani's version of a small Rijstaffel, smoked chicken, pork curry, crispy prawns, fish satay and parcel and various dips.
The Chef's specials include a Beef Rendang, Bebek Betutu [a portion big enough to share] and a version of that famous Ibu Mangku's Nasi Ayam, Ubud's own Chicken Rice A new restaurant that is fresh, clean, and cheery. A good place to start your day, just drop in any time or come for a relaxing dinner. In the evening live music [high quality, acoustic and non-intrusive] begins at 7.00.
I can not think of a more perfect way to spend an evening in Ubud.